To facilitate studies of the normal biology of alpha-synuclein, a member of a family of neuronal proteins of unknown function, and to elucidate the role of alpha-synuclein pathologies in neurodegenerative diseases, we generated and characterized a panel of anti-synuclein antibodies. Here we demonstrate that these antibodies recognize defined epitopes spanning the entire length of human alpha-synuclein, and that some of these antibodies also cross-react with zebra finch and rodent synucleins. Since alpha-synuclein has been reported to be a major component of Lewy bodies (LBs) in Parkinson's disease (PD), dementia with LBs and common variants of Alzheimer's disease, we performed immunohistochemical studies showing that these antibodies label numerous LBs in the PD substantia nigra, thereby localizing protein domains throughout human alpha-synuclein in LBs. Taken together, our data indicate that this panel of antibodies can be exploited to probe the normal biology of alpha-synuclein as well as the role of pathological forms of this protein in PD and related neurodegenerative synucleinopathies.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.